Tag Archives: Call

The Call of a Godly Leader

A godly leader must have a proper motivation for leadership. Leadership is a role, as much as it is a quality of character and an endowment of gifts. Biblical leadership is faithful service of a faith-filled servant.

God has given His people a calling. The first, and most important calling is to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  God calls all people through the means of the proclamation of the Good News about Jesus Christ (His sacrificial work of life and death for the sins of His people was accepted by God, so God raised Him from the dead and placed Jesus at the Father’s right hand in the heavenlies). This general calling is a universal one presented all to whom the Gospel is preached,  to receive and believe upon Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. This is an external calling (Matthew 22:14; Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:16-24; Acts 13:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 John 5:10). It is a sincere presentation of the Good News in Christ to sinners, exhorting them to turn from their sins and turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins in belief. This is a universal calling in that the Gospel is freely offered to any and all who would only believe. God does not consider one’s gender, nationality, race, or status in life when giving this call (Isaiah 55:1ff; Joel 2:32; Matt. 11:28; 22:14; John 3:16; Acts 18:9,10; 2 Cor. 5:20; Rev. 22:17)

Yet there is also a special calling from God. This calling is internal. The Holy Spirit brings the Gospel message to the very heart of the person, and that person is able to receive and believe the Good News of salvation. This is also called an effectual calling. It is effectual because the external call is made effective by the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48; Romans 1:6; 8:29,30; 11:29; 1 Corinthians 1:23-26; Hebrews 9:15; 2 Peter 1:10 Revelation 17:14).

What we mean is that a person has the inward call from God, so he is responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28), and hence he desires the office he has as a believer in Christ (a son of God, a co-heir, etc.).

Every believer has another calling in life. That would be to fulfill the God-given mandate to live life before the face of God by applying his gifts and talents God has given to him to all of life. This calling is a person’s vocation. The vocation is more than a job. It is living out and doing what God has placed within him to be and do in life. It might be as a plumber, or musician, a teacher or an artist. God is honored and glorified by this, as much as He is glorified and pleased by those whom He has called to particular kingdom office (deacon, elder or pastor).

The godly leader also has a more specific call for his role as leader. All Christian men are called to fulfill their leadership responsibilities in the various areas to which they were called (husband, father, son, etc.) This means the man is exercising his “kingship” as vicegerent to the Lord in all areas of his life.

Still others receive a more particular call to church office (1 Tim. 3:1). His motives are to be biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).  Not only does one have the inward call of God, but also that call must be recognized as a qualified and legitimate call by the community of God’s people (Acts 6). He cannot merely assume that because he may be gifted and has that inner motive that he can assume the office in God’s church. . He must also be properly called of God through the means of God’s church (Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4). This is what is called ordination.

 

-DTO

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Pastoring is Hard (and that’s an understatement)!

My Advice to Young Pastors  

Written by Timothy Hammons

The church is hard and if you are going there for any other reason than the fact that He calls you there, you will be beat up and disappointed. In fact, you are going to get beat up if He has called you there, but the difference is the status of your heart as He tends to you through the fires of the ministry. If He hasn’t called you there… don’t go.

Go straight to selling insurance and save yourself and your wife the grief of being a pastor in the church. Since so many of us end up selling insurance, you are getting a jump on all the other seminary grads in your class and you will be much happier in the long run.

But given that you are “called by God,” I guess I should offer some serious advice. The above was an attempt at humor. Maybe you will get it after being the ministry for ten or so years. Not that all young pastors will have tough ministries. I seem to know quite a few who are doing quite well in the ministry. They love it. Things are going well. But given the odds, only a few of those who graduate from seminary will have the big prosperous ministries whereas the rest of us just get to wonder what that is like.

Most of us fall in the middle lines of small churches. We struggle to make ends meet. The ministry is hard on our marriages and families. We see the ugly under belly of the church far more often than we see the fruit of our ministry as so many pastors claim they see. We strive to be faithful to our callings but its hard when members of the church are telling us the body would be much better off without us.

We pray to the Lord that blessings would flow in our ministries, but the blessings are few and far between and after a while, we start praying that the Lord would open the door for us to support our families in some other calling. We long for the moment that we can tell the disgruntled member to stick it. Not that we actually would say anything of the sort. Fortunately, we have the Lord’s Spirit dwelling in us that keeps us from following the flesh when we would like to.

We remember deep down that those disgruntled members belong to Christ as well. We wonder why God would bother with such wretched men and women of the church and His Spirit answers those questions on a regular basis in our own hearts. So we keep silent where the flesh screams for vengeance and follow the Spirit instead.

We strive to be faithful, preaching God’s word week in and week out, more often, knowing that with each sermon the Spirit of God is going to work on us far more than it works on the congregation. It takes it’s toll. We come down out of the pulpit, after being used by God, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot find a rock big enough to crawl under. We want nothing to do with the sermon we labored so hard to craft, nothing to do with the truth that scorched us so badly. Even when its a great sermon, we are spent and done for the day and hope for nothing more than sleep so we can recover just like Elijah after God used him to defeat the prophets of Baal. The congregation never sees the spiritual battle that took place in the pulpit, and before that, in the study, and most importantly, in our hearts. It leaves us like Elijah, saying “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

“The ministry is hard,” is what one fellow pastor told me. That was an understatement. It makes sense of the statements by those grey-haired professors in seminary who use to say, “if you can go do anything else besides ministry, then do so.” Now that I have grey hair, I echo their sentiments. But then there is that call of God.

If the ministry was just another career choice, then it could be easy to walk away from. I know how to walk away from other careers. I’ve been a disc jockey in radio, in the military, a journalist, and a host of other small careers mixed in to fill in the gaps. I walked and God opened the door for me to do so. But He hasn’t since I entered the ministry some sixteen years ago. I’ve asked Him at times, “Lord, if there is something else I can do…“

The irony is that I’m highly qualified in certain skill sets that look good in certain circles of the work force, just as I’m qualified as a pastor. The problem: just like there are 200 pastors for every pulpit in my denomination, there are plenty of people jumping to fill in those circles where I’m gifted.

By God’s grace, He has kept me in the ministry. He hasn’t opened any doors and even though I feel spent, used up, empty, broken, sad, disappointed… I know the hand behind that calling. While the church can be hard, faithless, mean, unforgiving, lonely, and filled with a host of other maladies, the ONE behind the church is not. He is faithful, and loving, and kind, and gentle and merciful. He holds me up when I don’t have the strength to do so. He speaks through me when I have no desire to speak. He keeps me moving forward and helps me be faithful in this calling of His. When I enter that pulpit, that place of His calling, He comes and stands with me. He leads me on and gives me the words to speak that I don’t want to utter. He encourages me and carries me along. That is the blessing of my week. Through all the struggles and difficulties, He stands with me. That is what keeps me going.

So what is my advice to young pastors? Sell insurance. Otherwise, make sure that you are walking with Him and more importantly, that He is leading you where go. The church is a hard place.

I used to get mad when I would come across people who had been hurt inside the church, left to depart and never to return. I don’t get mad anymore. I understand. The church is hard and if you are going there for any other reason than the fact that He calls you there, you will be beat up and disappointed. In fact, you are going to get beat up if He has called you there, but the difference is the status of your heart as He tends to you through the fires of the ministry. If He hasn’t called you there… don’t go. Go where He calls you, because it is that calling that will keep you there striving to be faithful when the sheep have bitten you for the umpteenth time.

Trust Him and look to Him. In Him you will find your joy. If you look for joy in your church, you will only be disappointed. Remember, our Lord and God is Jesus Christ, not St. First Church of the Spiritually Dead. To look to the church for any level of satisfaction, especially as it’s undershepherd, is breaking the First Commandment. You must look to Him and Him alone for all that you need, otherwise the bruises will mount up over time and drive you from your pulpit.

In remembering these truths… we can enter back into the pulpit as we are called to do, to say the things the world despises but the Lord loves. When we look to Him for our guidance, we truly do mount with wings of eagles, staying strong and not growing faint because He is the One that maintains us. To enter the pulpit in any other fashion will lead to disillusion. But with Him, there is the strength we need to proclaim what men most despise. That is my advice to young pastors. Do not enter the ministry on your own strength and zeal, but on His. Otherwise, sell insurance.

Teaching Elder Timothy Hammons is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is serving as interim pastor of Grace PCA in Jackson, Tenn. This is from his blog (http://timothyjhammons.com/) and is used with permission.

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Filed under Abusing Pastors, Church Leadership, Pastor & Church Relationship, Pastoring

Pastor – Nurture Your Call, Life and Gifts!

A godly minister must have a proper motivation for the office.  This ministerial position is a role, as much as it  is a quality of character and an endowment of gifts.  Biblical eldership (ruling or teaching) is the faithful service of a faith-filled and faithful servant.

God has given his people a calling. The first and most important calling is to a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. God calls all people through the means of the proclamation of the Good News about Jesus Christ (his obedient life and his sacrificial death to atone for the sins of his people).

This general calling is a universal one given to all whom the Gospel is preached; a call to receive and believe upon Jesus Christ and his life, work, death and resurrection for salvation. This is an external calling (Matt. 22:14; 28:19; Lk. 14:16-24; Acts 13:46; 2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Jn. 5:10).  It is a sincere proclamation of the Good News to sinners, exhorting them to turn from their sins and turn to God with belief.

This is also a universal call. God does not consider one’s gender, nationality, race, or status in life when issuing this call (Isa. 55:1ff; Joel 2:32; Matt. 11:28; 22:14; Jn. 3:16; Acts 18:9,10; 2 Cor. 5:20; Rev. 22:17).

Yet there is also a special calling from God that is internal. The Holy Spirit brings the Gospel message to the very heart of the person, and that person is able to receive and believe the Good News of salvation.  This is also called an effectual calling.  It is effectual because the external call is made effective by the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of an individual (Acts 13:48; Rom. 1:6; 8:29,30; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:23-26; Heb. 9:16; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rev. 17:14).

Such a person has the inward call from God, so he is responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28), and hence he desires the office he has as a believer in Christ (as a child of God, a co-heir, vicegerent, etc.)

Yet God also calls all believers to nurture their relationship with him and to keep their lives right before God (Rom. 12:1-2; 14:8; 2 Cor. 5:15; Gal. 5:17-25; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Thess. 4:1-12; 2 Tim. 2:19-21; 2 Pet. 3:1-11).  They are to be faithful stewards of Christ, and they are accountable to him through a biblically balanced life (Rom. 14:8, 12; 1 Cor. 9:17; 1 Pet. 4:5).

However, this is all the more true for pastors, elders and deacons.  The New Testament admonition to Timothy is applicable to those who take on the yoke of ministry.  The minister must:  Guard and maintain his life, piety and gifts (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 4:14-16; 2 Tim. 2:19-21), so that he might have the proper capacity to serve others through Christ (2 Tim. 2:1, 6, 15;  3:16-17).  What’s more is that he should practice and devote himself to godliness in Christ so that others will see progress in his work (1 Tim. 4:15-16).

The purpose of taking care of his life in Christ is not for self-actualization or other self-serving goals, but rather to be of greater service to the Lord and to others.  While this might seem odd, a properly oriented life that is saturated with God through Christ is far better blessing to others.  This is because the greater, more expansive capacity one has for God, the greater capacity for a fruitful ministry.

Check up:

  • How are you actively guarding and maintaining your life, piety and gifts?
  • Is your capacity to serve others through Christ expanding?
  • Are others seeing progress in your walk with Christ?

Jesus is the perfect model of one who, even though sinless, maintained and nurtured his relationship with the Father.  He understood God’s will and was strengthened from above in order to accomplish all that God set out for him to do.  He always made it a priority to spend time with the Father before serving others, yet he was the perfect servant (Matt. 20:28; Lk. 22:27; Jn. 13:5; Phil. 2:7ff). How much more important for those of us who are called to pastoral ministry to do likewise.

The minister needs this time of godly nurturing in order to use the good gift(s) God has placed upon him. In fact, he is called upon to do at least a couple of things:

First, to fan the flame or rekindle the gift(s) of God in his life (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6); and second, to saturate his life with and properly handle God’s Word (1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:14-16). The minister of God does this by (1) always growing in grace and truth (2 Pet. 3:18),  (2) holding fast to and being nourished by the Word of God (1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:14-17; Tit. 1:9), (3) rightly handling God’s Word so as to be approved by him (2 Tim. 2:15), (4) contending for the truth of God’s Word (1 Tim. 1:18-19), and finally (5) by guarding the Truth (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:12-14).

So, pastor, here are some closing and heart-provoking questions to consider:

  • Are you actively nurturing your life in Jesus Christ?
  • How are you fanning the flame or rekindling the gifts God has given you?
  • In what way are you saturating your life with and handling God’s Word?

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How a Church Can Identify a Potential Elder (or Deacon)

Often, churches will seek out and choose men to serve as deacons or elders merely because they have a charismatic personality, possess some leadership skills, have impressive talents, or are good at business or politics.  However good those things might be, too frequently the requirements that God presents in Scripture are ignored or overlooked. The consequences, then, for bringing a person who has impressive talents or skills, but not the character traits of godly Christlikeness, the spiritual gifts, or even the right motivation has too often been to detriment of the church.

Here is a checklist that can be used as a guide for identifying whether or not an individual is truly qualified for the position and responsibility as an elder or deacon.

Does the man possess the right equipment?

That is, does he have the right gifts for the office of deacon or elder?

  • The man has been obviously endowed with God-given spiritual gifts  (Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 21:15; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:22; Ti. 1:7).
  • The potential elder must be knowledgeable of the Scriptures, faithful to its doctrines and is able to teach, exhort-counsel from the Scriptures (1 Thess. 2:11,12; 1 Timothy; Titus 3).
  • The potential elder must be gifted to lead as a servant of God (1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17).
  • The potential elder or deacon is gifted to serve others (Acts 20:24f; Rom. 15:26-33).
  • He must be able to share his material resources with others (Acts 4; Eph. 4:28).
  • The potential officer is currently demonstrating a heart of mercy (Matt. 25; 1 Cor. 12:28)

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Does the potential officer of God’s Church possess the right motivation?

  • The man has expressed that he has an inward call and desire from God to serve.
  • He is faithful and shows an above-average commitment to the Lord, this church, and his family.
  • He is obviously responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28).
  • He desires to serve in the capacity of deacon or elder (1 Tim. 3:1).
  • His motives are biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).
  • Not only does he have the inward call of God, but God’s people in this church recognize his call as a qualified and legitimate (Acts 6; Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4).

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Does the man possess the right character?

As Kevin Reed points out, “these qualities (character qualities found in 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and 1 Peter) focus upon the three important aspects of a man’s life: his moral behavior, his knowledge of Christian doctrine, and his family life. An elder continually will be in public view. The respect an officer receives often depends more on an example of good character than from anything else about him” (Biblical Church Government, p. 9). All godly men should have these qualities, but the man who is selected for office in Christ’s kingdom must be measured by these qualities to see if he is ready for the office (1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:2; Ti, 2:7,8). Every person in Christ is called to put off the old sinful nature and put on these traits of Christ. Though no man, candidate or officer in Christ’s Church demonstrates any or all of these qualities perfectly, nevertheless it must be obvious that the officer has and demonstrates most of these qualities with consistent regularity.

Does the man measure up to what the Word of God requires for godly character (not perfectly nor completely, but obviously and substantially):

  • The candidate is above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6).
  • He has restrained control in his life (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Thess. 5:6,8).
  • He is a true gentle man (approachable, kind, gracious, firm yet diplomatic) (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:23-25; Matt. 11:29; Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thess. 2:7; James 3:17).
  • He is not pugnacious, not prone to violence  (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7; Prov. 3:30; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; 25:8; 26:17; Phil. 2:3).
  • He is not quarrelsome  (1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Ti. 3:9 Eccl. 10:4; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:17).
  • He is not greedy (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7 cp. 1 Tim. 6:5-10; Acts 20:33; 2 Tim. 3:6-7).
  • He is not given easily to selfish anger (Ti. 1:7; Pro. 16:32).
  • He is not over-indulgent or a drunk (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7). The principle is that he has disciplined control over bodily appetites (Gen. 19; Prov. 20:1; 23; Eccles. 10:17; Isa. 5:11; Isa. 28:1; Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18).
  • He is self-controlled (Ti. 1:8; Eph. 5:4; Acts 24:25; Rom. 6:12; Jas. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8).
  • He is truly humble (not self-willed)   (Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; Ti. 1:7; Jas. 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5; Rom. 12:3, 10, 16).
  • The candidate is holy (religiously, biblically devout, pious) (Ti. 1:8; Lev. 11:45; Luke 1:74,75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11).
  • His persona and life demonstrate biblical hospitality  (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:10; Ti. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).
  • He is just (upright, righteous, impartial in dealing with people) (Ti. 1:8; Deut. 16:20; Psa. 82:3; Prov. 21:3; Isa. 56:1; Rom. 13:7; Col. 4:1).
  • The man is a lover of good (has a love of virtue, good men and things)  (Ti. 1:8; 1 Thess. 5:21; Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Rev. 3:3).
  • He is prudent, wise (skilled at bringing God’s thoughts to bear on all matters of life) (1 Tim. 3:2; Ti. 1:8; Proverbs).
  • He is respectable (well-ordered, well-arranged, decorous in behavior and speech; good manners) (1 Tim. 3:2).

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Am I Called to be a Pastor?

You think you are called to be a pastor or full-time minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Here is a self-check you might wish to use to help you assess whether or not you are qualified or called to ministry.

A. Personal Life

  • I meet the moral and spiritual qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 (Substantially, not perfectly)
  • I practice daily, regular Bible reading and praying.
  • I fear and love God.
  • I am serious about obeying God and obeying God’s Word.
  • I am killing sin and growing in grace, and it is evident by the fact that I am not the same today as I was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago.
  • I am teachable, eager for learning more spiritual truth.
  • I am teachable and eager to learn and strengthen my gifts and talents.
  • I hunger for grace, truth and righteousness.

 

B. My Family Life

  • My home reflects an atmosphere of harmony, godliness, and hospitality
  • I have a good relationship with my wife that evidences conformity to the standards of Ephesians 5:25-28? I am practicing self-denying love that serves, nourishes and cherishes my wife.
  • I rule my children with a graceful, loving, consistent, but firm hand.
  • I am consistently practicing biblical discipline and love toward his children (i.e.: verbal instruction and corporal correction).
  • My marriage and family life is a model that can be commended to others.
  • My wife and children respect, honors and submit to my biblical leadership.
  • I provide spiritual leadership to my wife/family.
  • My wife and children are following my spiritual leadership.
  • The home evidences a commitment to spiritual priorities.
  • My wife has godly priorities.
  • She is committed to ministry in the local church also.
  • She is supportive of me serving as a minister-pastor

 

C. Church Life

  • Am I enthusiastic about the vision of building a biblically healthy church?
  • Am I committed to the local church of God’s people, and faithful in attendance when God’s people meet?
  • Am I friendly, open, cordial, approachable, gracious to others?
  • Do I show a genuine concern for others?
  • Do I give myself in time and talents to the Lord’s work?
  • Am I willing to serve without seeking applause?
  • Do I take correction gracefully and with humility?
  • Am I teachable?
  • Can I disagree in a gentle manner?
  • Can I see and understand another’s viewpoint?
  • Am I a good listener?
  • Do I keep confidences?
  • Do I pray with and for others in need?
  • Am I enthusiastic about the Bible and the Gospel, and can I communicate the truth to others?
  • Can I defend the Bible against attack?
  • Am I slow to judge others and quick to commend and encourage?
  • Am I firm in rejecting gossip and slander?
  • Do my wife and I practice hospitality toward others in the local Body of Christ?
  • Have I demonstrated a capacity for spiritual leadership by serving?
  • Does the church respect me and follow me as a leader?
  • Have I demonstrated a capacity for ruling, oversight, and shepherding?

 

D.  Life in God’s World

  • Am I honest in money matters?
  • Do my employer, employees, work associates and neighbors respect me?
  • Do I seek to glorify God through his vocation or calling?
  • Do I use his money in a godly way?
  • Do I respond in a godly way to disappointment and worldly reversals?
  • Do I have compassion for the lost and a desire to carry out Christ’s Great Commission?
  • Do I pray for the salvation of lost friends, relatives, and acquaintances?
  • Do I build bridges of friendship and service to lost people?
  • Do I have a heart for inviting people to hear about Christ and to be exposed to Christ’s church?

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Called to the Ministry?

Only a godly leader should seek out pastoral ministry. A godly leader must have a proper motivation for leadership. Leadership is a role, as much as it is a quality of character and an endowment of gifts. Biblical leadership is faithful service of a faith-filled servant.

God has given His people a calling. The first, and most important calling is to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God calls all people through the means of the proclamation of the Good News about Jesus Christ (His sacrificial work of life and death for the sins of His people was accepted by God, so God raised Him from the dead and placed Jesus at the Father’s right hand in the heavenlies). This general calling is a universal one presented all to whom the Gospel is preached, to receive and believe upon Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. This is an external calling (Matthew 22:14; Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:16-24; Acts 13:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 John 5:10). It is a sincere presentation of the Good News in Christ to sinners, exhorting them to turn from their sins and turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins in belief. This is a universal calling in that the Gospel is freely offered to any and all who would only believe. God does not consider one’s gender, nationality, race, or status in life when giving this call (Isaiah 55:1ff; Joel 2:32; Matt. 11:28; 22:14; John 3:16; Acts 18:9,10; 2 Cor. 5:20; Rev. 22:17)

Yet there is also a special calling from God. This calling is internal. The Holy Spirit brings the Gospel message to the very heart of the person, and that person is able to receive and believe the Good News of salvation. This is also called an effectual calling. It is effectual because the external call is made effective by the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48; Romans 1:6; 8:29,30; 11:29; 1 Corinthians 1:23-26; Hebrews 9:15; 2 Peter 1:10 Revelation 17:14).

What we mean is that a person has the inward call from God, so he is responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28), and hence he desires the office he has as a believer in Christ (a son of God, a co-heir, etc.).

Every believer has another calling in life. That would be to fulfill the God-given mandate to live life before the face of God by applying his gifts and talents God has given to him to all of life. This calling is a person’s vocation. The vocation is more than a job. It is living out and doing what God has placed within him to be and do in life. It might be as a plumber, or musician, a teacher or an artist. God is honored and glorified by this, as much as He is glorified and pleased by those whom He has called to particular kingdom office (deacon, elder or pastor).

The godly leader also has a more specific call for his role as leader. All Christian men are called to fulfill their leadership responsibilities in the various areas to which they were called (husband, father, son, etc.) This means the man is exercising his “kingship” as vicegerent to the Lord in all areas of his life.

Still others receive a more particular call to church office (1 Tim. 3:1). His motives are to be biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff). Not only does one have the inward call of God, but also that call must be recognized as a qualified and legitimate call by the community of God’s people (Acts 6). He cannot merely assume that because he may be gifted and has that inner motive that he can assume the office in God’s church. . He must also be properly called of God through the means of God’s church (Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4). This is what is called ordination.

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Some Questions a Candidate Could Ask Before Taking a Call

What is the History of this Church?

1. What is the history of the church?

2. Any demographic material about the community and church which you can provide that might be helpful?
a. Is this a growing or declining city?

b. What is the potential rate of growth?

c. What is the economic health of the city? Of the congregation

d. What can I learn about the ethnic mix of the population?

e. Housing affordability, availability, and neighborhood location considerations?

f. Zoning laws which would affect home Bible studies, church growth, etc.?

3. How old is the church?

4. Are the founders still members of the church? Are they stuck in the past or are they willing to move forward? Are they teachable?

5. What was this church’s pastoral record? (Note: a pastoral tenure of six or more years is a positive indicator).
a. How many previous pastors have there been since the church began?
b. How long were the ministries of those pastors?
c. What was behind their leaving?
d. What are the perceived positives of those pastors (no names please)
e. What were the perceived negatives of those pastors? (no names please)
f. In what way(s) has the congregation treated the previous pastor(s)?

6. What are the attendance patterns of the church? Is it growing? Plateaued? Declining?

7. How would they describe the average church member or attendee?

8. What is the history of the various programs, activities, etc.?

Doctrinal, covenantal, and other information
1. Have I read and agree with their doctrinal statement?

2. Have I read and do I agree with their constitution? Are there any areas with which I disagree? Have I communicated those concerns  to the church?

3. What definition(s) do they give for a Biblical church?
a. Faithful preaching and teaching of the Word of God?
b. Proper administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
c. Exercise church membership and discipline?
d. Prayer?
e. Fellowship?

4. What is the style of worship? Is it biblical and it is compatible with my convictions?

5. Is there anything about the music philosophy and program with which I am uncomfortable?

6. What are their views regarding:
a. Evangelism and its priority? Are they doing anything about it?
b. Teaching?
c. Preaching?
d. Spiritual gifts, to include those controversial gifts?
e. Abortion?
f. Divorce?
g. Involvement in social issues and needs?
h. Counseling?
i. Discipling?

The Church’s Vision and Mission
1. To whom is the church trying to minister?

2. What is the vision of the church?

3. What is the vision of the pastor? Is it the same as the church board’s?

4. What is the mission of the church (how they will accomplish their vision)?

5. What is the mission of the pastor?

6. What are this church’s strengths?

7. What does the church do really well?

8. How do other churches in the city describe this church’s ministry?

9. What reason do new members give for joining the church?

10. What are the perceived strengths of the church (by pastor, elders, members, etc.)?

11. What are the perceived weaknesses of the church?

12. What is my overall impression(s) of this church?

13. How would I rate the following non-verbal aspects about the church:
a. warmth
b. friendliness
c. welcoming
d. outgoing
e. positiveness

14. What kinds of programs are offered? Why?

Church Government
1. What is the governmental structure of the church?

2. How will this affect their decisions? Especially decisions concerning me, my family, ministry, etc.?

3. Who really rules the church? The elders? Pastor? Founder(s)? Trustees?
a. Is there an “old uncle Henry?” or “Aunt Myrtle?” in charge?
b. Is the church following a biblical model?

Church Finances
1. How are the resources allocated?

2. What is the financial health of the church, now and historically?

3. What is the pattern of giving?
a. By whom?
b. Annual fluctuations?
c. Annual per capita or per unit giving?

4. Are there fund-raisers, pledge appeals, etc. throughout the year? Why?

5. What is the pattern of attendance?

6. What salary package is offered?

7. Are there any other financial benefits offered?

8. Is there any indebtedness?
a. How much?
b. What percentage of the annual budget is the debt?
c. Is this related to a building program?

9. Is there a building program now or expected in the near future?

10. How generous is the giving for missions and evangelism?

11. What is the biggest fiscal challenge presently?
If the church were to receive a sizable contribution (such as $100,000.00), what would it do with it? How would the elders
want to use it? Deacons? The congregation?

Questions about my fit at this church.
1. What is it about me, my profile and resume which interests the church (pastor, elders, members, others)?

2. What are the apparent, obvious needs of the church that my gifts might serve?

3. Does this church have a job description for my position or must I develop one? (Note: sometimes ambiguities can                   present  major problems down the road; especially if the church has certain unspoken expectations I cannot fulfill.)

4. Can they describe an average work-week for my position?

5. Will I have job evaluations? When and by whom?

6. Will I be part of a team? If so, who all is involved on this team?

7. If I am answerable to a senior pastor:
a. At best analysis, will my personality fit his? How do I know?
b. Questions about his leadership style:
(1) What are his priorities?
(2) Does he have a clear vision?
(3) What are his strengths and abilities?
(4) What is his attitude about power and position? (hold on or give away?)
(5) How does he spend his time? (a people person? Invest time in things or people?)
(6) Does he have a proven track record? (Influences the influencers?  Builds a winning team?)
(7) What is his philosophy of growth about the church?
(8) What expectations does he have about his staff? Others? Me?
(9) How high of a commitment level does he expect? (Same as his? Is he a perfectionist?)
(10) Does he have a balanced life?
(11) Is he a reactive or proactive leader?
(12) Does he delegate well? Or does he micromanage?
(13) How well does he impact the lives of others?
(14) Is he also teachable? Humble?
(15) Will he minister to my family and me also? How do I know?

7. What about my family?
a. What is their perspective or what do they sense about this?
b. How will this church minister to my family? Will they grow in it?
c. What expectations do the leaders and/or congregation members have about my wife? Family?
d. What is my wife thinking? What are her concerns and questions?

8. What will my sphere of influence be?

9. Are they aware of my dreams, vision, gifts?

10. Are they willing to allow me to do what I do best according to my calling, gifts, talents, personality, etc.? How would I know?

11. Is the compensation package adequate? Benefits?

12. Are there any provisions for enrichment opportunities?
a. Will they encourage my growth?
b. What continuing educational seminars, etc. must I attend? Can I attend?
c. Involvement with mission trips? Other church related ventures?

13. What is the length of vacation? Sick leave?

14. How do they think I ought to “recharge my batteries”?

15. Can I assess the potential longevity at this church?
a. Will my vision-ministry take three, five, ten years to complete?
b. Am I able to help lead this church into a new chapter in its life now? Five years from now?
c. Am I willing to invest one-fourth of my career here in this church and community?
d. Is there something else I would rather be doing now? Five years from now?
e. Are there any roadblocks or challenges to the church’s ministry that could stifle its future effectiveness for the Lord?

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